Giving someone the information they need to deal with your money may seem like a good solution if you’re concerned about being unable to deal with your bank and other financial institutions yourself. But this has serious legal implications for both you and those to whom you give access.
Often banks will allow you to become a joint account holder with another party (such as a son or daughter) to enable them access to your account; but this has other implications as there is then no control or accountability and in the event of your death any funds in that account would pass automatically to the joint holder and not via your Will.
Firstly, this is likely to be a breach of the agreement you have with your bank. They do not permit the sharing of your personal security information with anyone.
If money was to be wrongly appropriated from your account, suspicion might fall on your family member. If money has been wrongly taken by a third party, the fact that you have breached your bank’s terms and conditions may mean that they do not have to cover the loss, even if they would have done so had you not breached their agreement.
There is no form of supervision of this sort of information access to your funds. Your family member will not have any legal protection for their actions, and could face suspicion over their use of the money.
There is a chance they may be tempted to borrow funds that they have access to. Even if they intend to pay the money back, if circumstances mean that they can’t, they could end up in a difficult position.
Fortunately there is a way of formally granting someone the authority to deal with your financial matters. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives a family member or other trusted acquaintance the ability to help you. The document will be signed by you and then registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, who will give some supervision of the attorney.
The LPA can be put into effect at once, or saved until you don’t have the ability to deal with your affairs any more. It will give your chosen attorney the legal right to deal with your financial matters.
Without an LPA, if your relatives need to help you, should you lose the capacity to handle your own finances, they would need to make an application to the court. This can take several months to process and is a far more expensive procedure. It also involves ongoing costs.
By signing an LPA while you are able to do so, you can ensure that your family have the authority they need and that they will be able to step in and help as soon as you want them to.
To speak to one of our expert lawyers about drawing up an LPA, ring us on 01276 415835/6/7.